Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in the Bureau of justice Assistance Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program
Law enforcement agencies funded through the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Policy and Implementation Program (PIP) are not required to collaborate with research partners as part of their grant award. Nevertheless, a number of agencies indicated in their grant proposals that they would partner with outside researchers to conduct process or impact (or both) evaluations. In fact, 31 of the 189 agencies (16 percent) funded in FY 2015 and FY 2016 reported they would engage with a research partner during their grant period. To better understand these partnerships, the Arizona State University research team developed a survey to capture information about the proposed researcherpractitioner partnerships. The survey was delivered to agency points of contact (POCs) via their assigned subject matter expert on the CNA training and technical assistance team. The survey captured information in six general areas: the research partner, research questions, research design, outcomes, current status of the research, and whether the findings have been published. Of the 31 agencies that were sent a survey, eighteen agencies (58 percent) reported a researcher partnership (representing 10 percent of all funded agencies in FY 2015 and FY 2016). Among the 18 responding agencies, we found a high degree of consensus on the research questions they planned to address, with most focusing on the effects of BWCs on various citizen-, officer-, and workplace-related behaviors; officer accountability; and evidentiary value. The majority of sites plan to use a quasi-experimental design with multiple outcomes of interest. The most common outcomes include citizen complaints, use of force incidents, citizen perceptions, and evidentiary outcomes (e.g., complaint disposition, court outcomes). The vast majority of partnerships are ongoing, regardless of their PIP grant status.